It’s been interesting watching the hens in the pumpkin patch. I bring in two at a time. They kick up dirt and eat worms and bugs and leaves. I sit in a chair and enjoy their company. When the two chickens who join me in “hen heaven” are best friends, like Eleanor and Edwina, their interactions are different than if it was, let’s say, Marge and Edwina. Friends in the garden stay close by each other, frequently brushing past each other, feathers touching. One watches what the other is eating, but rarely tries to steal it. There is little competition, but lots of guttural, cheerful clucking between them. On the other hand, put in two hens who are not best friends and they eye each other greedily and snatch morsels out from under the other. They will wander several feet away from the other. They cluck a bit louder and without quite as much chuckle. The two not-best-friends hens are still happy out there in the pumpkin patch, but it is clear that being with a friend is even better.

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